MOTORPSYCHO — Blissard (review)

MOTORPSYCHO — Blissard album cover Album · 1996 · Non-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
UMUR
"Blissard" is the 4th full-length studio album by Norwegian hard rock/psychadelic rock act Motorpsycho. The album was released through Stickman Records in February 1996. To bridge the gap between "Timothy's Monster (1994)" and "Blissard", the members of Motorpsycho enganged in the Motorpsycho & Friends project (sometimes refered to as The International Tussler Society) titled "The Tussler – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1994)". It´s a country rock styled soundtrack to a fictional Spaghetti Western originally released on CD in a very limited amount of copies.

With "Blissard" the band return to more familiar hard rock/psychadelic rock ground though. However it seems the "Tussler" experience has provided Motorpsycho with some fresh ideas and a new approach to writing music, because to my ears there is a big difference in compositional quality if you compare "Timothy's Monster (1994)" and "Blissard". Stylistically the music continues down the same alternative rock path with nods toward psychadelic rock (mostly in the middle section of "Sonic Teenage Guinevere") and hard rock as on "Timothy's Monster (1994)", but the tracks are generally more memorable and intriguing than the case was on the more mediocre predecessor. There is good dynamics on the album and there are both hard rocking tracks and more mellow songs on the tracklist. The music is guitar, bass, drums and vocal driven, but there are occasional use of various keyboards/organs on the album too. Bent Saether´s voice is a bit thin/fragile and he sounds strained at times, but somehow he pulls it off anyway. The vocals are a slight issue though and thankfully something that would get better with each subsequent release.

"Blissard" features the most well sounding production on any Motorpsycho release up until then. The fact that they´ve opted for a slightly more organic sound on this album is definitely one of the main reasons. It´s nice to hear that Motorpsycho already this early on in their career start to embrace a more warm and organic 70s influenced sound and slowly begin to move away from the more abrassive alternative rock sound of their formative years. That transition has been obvious in glimpses on the previous releases, but it´s here on "Blissard" that it´s become an integrated part of the sound.

So all in all "Blissard" is a step up from previous releases by the band, and it´s a pretty enjoyable listen in it´s own right too. It´s not a perfect album by any means and there are still some issues with for instance the quality of the vocal performance, but it´s still obvious that "Blissard" is a quality release featuring many intriguing ideas, tight playing, and a powerful and suiting sound production. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.
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